By: Ravinder Vasudeva
Shimla: In his first political inning, when Congress candidate from Hamirpur constituency and former cricket all-rounder and member of 1983 World Cup winner team, Madan Lal, will kick-start his election campaign, surely, he was expected to face “googlies, bouncers and even yorkers”, not only from the main rival BJP, but also from his own party man, as is now evident from the revolt within the party.
Rift within the Congress over Madan Lal’s candidature had already come to the fore even before the declaration of his candidature and now, the decision of the state Congress chief, Kaul Singh Thakur, to write a letter to the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, showing his dissent over Madan Lal’s candidature has clarified that “all is not well within the Congress” as far as the Hamirpur Parliamentary seat is concerned. According to information, in his letter to Sonia Gandhi, Kaul Singh has conveyed his strong displeasure over preferring the candidature of Madan Lal over Narainder Thakur, who according to Kaul Singh would have helped the Congress to corner the charismatic image of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal in Hamirpur Parliamentary seat, where Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur is contesting as the BJP candidate.
What could really hurt the prospective of Madan Lal in Hamirpur is the fact that there is dissent over his candidature at the ground level too. In yesterday’s episode the state president of Youth Congress, Manmohan Katoch, dismissed the district body of Hamirpur Youth Congress as some of its office bearers had on March 23 resigned against the allotment of ticket to Madan Lal.
This is not the end of anxieties for Madan Lal in Hamirpur. With just about one-and-half month left for the polls, BJP is already far ahead in campaigning while the Congress has not even chalked out its strategy to corner the BJP candidate. Also, this time in Hamirpur seat, Congress would enter the poll battle without its most experienced and aggressive campaigner, former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who himself is contesting as the Congress candidate from Mandi Parliamentary seat. Virbhadra is sharp political game maker and his presence in Hamirpur seat especially in these circumstances when a controversy has arisen over candidature, could have added to Madan Lal’s chances.